Divorce and Separation

Getting a divorce, civil partnership dissolution or separation is a huge life change for every member of the family. Our family law team understand how stressful it can be to face an uncertain future. We want to help you move on feeling financially secure and trusting that the future is bright.

We can help you navigate the separation process, sort out finances and agree arrangements for children as speedily and cost effectively as possible. We can advise on:

  • The divorce or civil partnership dissolution process
  • Making voluntary arrangements with your former partner about the finances and children
  • Using alternative dispute resolution methods such as collaborative law to come to an agreement
  • Going to court for a wide range of financial and children related orders
  • Getting a legal separation from your spouse or civil partner (e.g. if you are not yet sure about getting a divorce or dissolution) or making a separation agreement
  • Cohabitation issues after separating from someone you are not married to or in a civil partnership with, e.g. disputes over property or childcare arrangements
  • Obtaining protective orders, such as non-molestation and occupation orders where there are issues of domestic abuse
  • Preparing and advising on pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements

Our family law solicitors are experts at what we do. We are members of the Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation Scheme and the Children Law Accreditation Scheme and the Resolution Accreditation Scheme for our expertise handling complex separation matters (such as those involving challenging finances or international property) and all private law matters relating to children.

For helpful, friendly and practical advice about getting a divorce, dissolution or separation, get in touch with our separation and divorce solicitors in Brighton or Hassocks or fill in our online enquiry form for a quick response.

Our separation and divorce solicitors’ expertise

Divorce petitions and civil partnership dissolution applications

The first step to getting a divorce or civil partnership dissolution is submitting a petition or application to court stating that your relationship with your partner has irretrievably broken down. To support your application, we must rely on one or more of the “facts”:

  • Adultery (only for married couples where the adultery happens with someone of the opposite sex)
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion for at least two years (i.e. Where your partner has deserted you)
  • Separation for two years with the consent of your partner
  • Separation for five years with no consent from your partner needed

If your partner agrees to the divorce, this process is very simple. However, in rare cases a person may object to their partner’s application. In these cases, a full court hearing may be needed.

From autumn 2021, the five “facts” are to be abolished. This means it will be possible to get a divorce or dissolution without blaming the relationship breakdown wholly on one person and it will no longer be possible for one person to object to the divorce or dissolution. This new process will be called no-fault divorce. We can also provide advice about whether it may be worth waiting for the law to change, for example, if you are worried about your partner objecting to your application and forcing you to go to court to get a divorce.

Financial settlements

When you get a divorce or civil partnership dissolution, your financial arrangements must be worked out alongside the application process. You and your former partner will need to come to an agreement about matters such as:

  • Where you both will live and what should happen to the family home
  • How bills such as the mortgage or rent should be paid
  • How assets such as savings, pensions and personal belongings should be divided
  • What should happen to any family businesses
  • Who should keep the family pets
  • Child maintenance payments
  • Spousal maintenance payments

In most cases, we are able to help couples negotiate these matters amicably using alternative dispute resolution methods such as collaborative law wherever appropriate.

However, if necessary we can also help you apply to court for a range of financial orders. Our goal will be to help you achieve a position of financial security so you can move on without any worries about where you will live or how you will support your children and maintain your lifestyle.

Arrangements for children

Agreeing arrangements for children after relationship breakdown is often the most stressful part of the separation process. We want to help you find a solution that works for your family. We can help you negotiate a fair parenting plan that keeps your children’s best interests at heart while promoting your interests as a parent.

In most cases we are able to help parents come to an arrangement on an entirely voluntary basis, using methods of alternative dispute resolution wherever necessary. However, we also have experience applying to court for a range of child related court orders, including:

  • Child Arrangements Orders – for decisions about where children will live and how much time they will spend with each parent
  • Specific Issue Orders – to solve key questions about a child’s upbringing, such as where they should go to school or whether they should have a religious education
  • Prohibited Steps Orders – to stop a parent making a particular decision about a child, for example, to prevent a parent from taking the child abroad

We can also provide advice about agreeing child maintenance payments or making an application the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

Separation agreements

If you need time apart from your spouse or civil partner but are not yet sure whether you want to get a divorce or civil partnership dissolution, a separation agreement may be perfect for you. A separation agreement is a document that sets out how you and your partner want to divide and arrange your finances while you are separated. If you later decide to get a divorce or dissolution, the agreement can be used as a basis for your financial settlement, saving you considerable time and stress.

A separation agreement and/or legal separation (where your separation is recognised by the courts) may also be suitable if you cannot get a divorce or dissolution for some reason. For example, because you have not been married long enough to get a divorce or you do not want to get a divorce for cultural reasons.

Cohabitation disputes

When unmarried couples split up, it can be very easy for disputes to arise because unmarried individuals do not have the same legal rights as spouses or civil partners. Most significantly, someone who is not married or in a civil partnership with their partner has no legal right to claim a share of their money or property (unless they are joint owners). This can come as a surprise to many couples, particularly those who have been together for many years and built a life together.

We can advise on a wide range of cohabitation issues upon separation, such as:

  • Property rights of unmarried couples upon separation
  • TOLATA claims to gain an interest in property (for example, if one partner is the legal owner of the family home but the other made significant contributions, they may be able to claim a share)
  • Disputes arising from cohabitation agreements
  • Arrangements for children, including:
    • Helping parents negotiate a parenting plan
    • Applying to court for child related court orders
    • Agreeing child maintenance or applying to the Child Maintenance Service

Get in touch with our separation and divorce lawyers

For helpful, friendly and practical advice about getting a divorce, dissolution or separation, get in touch with our family solicitors in Brighton or Hassocks or fill in our online enquiry form for a quick response.

For more information please contact a member of our team


    Close

    How can we help you?





    • You might also be interested in

      Moving doesn’t need to be stressful

      read more
    • You might also be interested in

      Have you updated your will recently?

      read more
    • You might also be interested in

      Are you thinking of buying or selling a business?

      read more